Posts Tagged ‘awareness’

The world of being

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

The ego is an interesting thing. You have one. I have one. Yet it only exists as much as WordPress (the blog software I’m using) exists, and in much the same kind of way. The ego is part of the software of the mind, constructed by the mind. It is reinforced from an incredibly early age, but I is not the first thing that comes out of a child’s mouth. “Juice” was my first’s first word. And programming, as much as almost all of it is done is with words. The point though isn’t about words, the point is about ego.

The sense of I arises out of a sense of separation. And the world of form certainly gives aids in this illusion. Those of us who see, see objects all around. It is not difficult to believe that they’re separate and for us to believe that we’re separate as well. Refining distinctions is how we make sense of the world, and how we master our experience of it. (Note I didn’t say master the world. That’s too arrogant an assumption for my small brain.) And understandably we infer that we are also separate beings. But it’s a trick, an illusion created by our brains, to aid in the survival of the DNA. Yet, here is the very first sense of suffering. The creation of the ego in the mind is the beginning of suffering.

Armed with images, sounds and words, the mind starts to build a view of itself. Everything it sees has qualities. It’s this colour or that, large or small, good or bad, hungry or replete. And so it begins to describe itself, aided of course by its unwitting parents. Some would also add that tendencies from previous rebirths get thrown into the mix as well, but for many that’s moot so I won’t dwell on it. And the now the ego begins to cling to qualities to affirm itself in the world.

But no list of qualities is complete. There is always something missing. No matter how much the mind, perceiving itself as an ego, tries to add to itself, refine itself, it is never good enough. But the mind clings to this ego and stubbornly continues to believe that perfection must be possible. And here is the struggle and the cause of all of the rest of the suffering. Perfection is not possible, not in this limited sense.

And every time the mind perceiving itself as an ego thinks it has things worked out, along comes change and smacks the poor ego and says “not this time.” So the mind as ego suffers and then adapts to the new circumstances.

Yet all along the ego never really existed. It all started with a misunderstanding, misidentification with the world of objects, the world of how things appear to be, not how things are. The mind is not some identity.

And there we have it, my interpretation of the world of being:- imperfection, no identity, and impermanence. What an incredible joke that we have seen ourselves this way, and what a tragedy that we have had to endure so much suffering.

Our pure awareness, holy God, creator and destroyer of all that is, may I return to your bosom and know myself as nothing at all.

Email This Post Email This Post

The flow of being

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Non- is an interesting prefix in modern Buddhism. It tends to get used in a non-dualistic way. In other words, the opposite of attachment is detachment, but if we want to talk about neither attachment nor detachment, we would use the word non-attachment. Non-duality is kind of like that too. This points to the idea that what we are talking about is beyond dualistic thinking, or the pairs of opposites as it used to be called in occult literature.

Thich Nhat Hanh pointed out that in every piece of paper is a cloud. I told this to my five year old niece the other day. And then explained to her that without clouds there would be no rain, and without the rain there would be no trees, and without the trees there would be no paper. She got it. “It still sounds strange though,” she replied. This is a revolution of thinking, of course it does.

Thich Nhat Hanh calls this Interbeing, some buddhists think this is an aspect of dependent co-arising, and I agree. In one sense we are who we are dependent on our parents, on the society we live in, on the people we mix with in our daily lives to be who we are. Moreover we participate in creating society around us, and the people around us who they are. In one breath we can say that we are responsible for everything being the way it is and also say “I am not my fault.” Neither and both.

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, said that you can’t step in the same river twice because by the time you step in it again the river will have changed. It will be different water, different fish, different shapes on the river banks. Just as importantly it won’t even be the same you. You will have changed. The you which has co-dependently arisen will have been changed by your experiences. All that you can really say, and you can’t even say that, is that there is this massive flux. There is certainly no separate permanent you, at all, not even for a second. So don’t delude yourself.

Delusion is exactly what we do. Rather than seeing this massive flux, we particularise. We see discrete fixed objects, and we give them names. And to make things worse we make them good and bad. We cling to our objectifications like a limpet. We define ourselves in terms of our experiences, of our objectified senses, of our objectifying thoughts. As a result, we suffer. When we create good, we create bad.

Yet all the time there is this miraculous awareness. Aware of the passing thoughts, experiences, and just aware in itself. Why define ourselves at all? This awareness doesn’t need definition. Try it. Whatever you define it as, it’s not that. Some would argue that the gateway to this understanding is concentration, but held within a context of not identifying with the thoughts and experiences as they arise. Try it, but don’t become attached to it.

What can we say about it? Or in saying anything have we just objectified and created a new delusion?

Email This Post Email This Post